Ayala extends helping hand to farmers
The Ayala Group of Companies, through its employees’ cooperative, is firming up its support for the government’s corporate rice farming program (CRFP) by partnering with a farmers’ group based in Palawan.
Last September, Ayala Coop signed a rice supply agreement with Ayala-led Ten Knots Development Corp. (TKDC) and the Palawan ARC Cooperative Federation (Parcofed), through which the farmers can sell their grains.
Ayala Coop, leading the Ayala Group of Companies, will buy rice produced by Parcofed, the accredited farm service provider of the Department of Agriculture in this case, based on the order of TKDC.
“The co-op is pleased that starting from a small seed in Iloilo we are now moving toward a bigger group, a bigger engagement, and partnership with the Department of Agriculture,” the cooperative’s general manager Lourdes B. Orosa said in a joint statement.
According to Ayala Coop, the tie-up with Parcofed further strengthened its advocacy-cum-business development venture involving the CRFP.
This followed the cooperative’s first deal engaged through the program, signed last August with the Iloilo-based Dingle Multi-Purpose Cooperative. The grains from Iloilo are intended for Ayala-owned Seda Atria Hotel.
The Ayala group’s participation in the CRFP kicked off last February following a meeting attended by Ayala chair Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Ayala Foundation president Ruel Maranan—who is also Ayala Coop chair—and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.
Aside from partnering with entities like the Ayala group that have their own use for the rice, an earlier version of the CRFP provides for farmers’ associations along with their respective local government units to link with institutional buyers like the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which intends to distribute the rice to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
The partnership with the DSWD allows the agency to give out rice instead of cash to households enrolled in the government’s conditional cash transfer program.
According to the DA, farmers’ associations and cooperatives intending to take part in the CRFP must have a strong credit line and be in good standing with lending institutions because loan guarantees need to be made available for rice production.
Also, the farmers’ group “should be willing to enter into an agreement with a commitment of at least six years.”
For its part, the DA is expected to provide farm mechanization support and technical assistance needed in rice production, harvesting, processing and marketing.
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